Finance advice

How property investors should handle the end of the financial year

By Julie Cumming

With just weeks to go before the end of another financial year, it’s important to review your investment portfolio, and strategise how you can minimise your tax bill and maximise your long-term savings.

Speak to your property manager and be proactive. Apart from being smart practice, it is wise to view your investment property as a ‘small business’ and do what is strategically important to maintain and improve output and efficiency. Surprising your tenants with improvements can also have a positive relationship effect. Consider any repairs and maintenance issues you may have been putting off or not aware of.

Tax deductions are an important part of cash flow. The rent, tax deductions and your personal contributions, are all required in the holding phase of your investment while you wait for the capital appreciation to occur over time.

The rent is fixed by the market, so this is an appropriate time to check if the current rent is in line with market trends or if needs adjustment when the lease expires or renews.

Tax deductions are legitimate to claim as a property investor, however they are, on their own, not a reason to invest. The more rent and deductions you can achieve, the less you need to contribute out of pocket.

Having a strategy session with your accountant now will enable you to see if there are any benefits in bringing forward tax-deductible expenses to the current financial year or perhaps pre-paying interest. It is essential to get sound, qualified advice on these matters that are specific to your personal circumstances from a property savvy accountant.

Repairs and maintenance vs improvements

It is important to understand the difference between repairs and maintenance and improvements to a property. This is relevant as you can claim an immediate deduction on repairs and maintenance if the property is rented, whereas improvements must be depreciated over time.

A repair is when you return something to its original state e.g. replacing damaged hot plates on a stove top.

Maintenance is money spent to prevent or fix deterioration like oiling a deck, painting etc.

An improvement is making something better than it was originally. For example, replacing an old oven to update a kitchen, often resulting in being able to ask higher rent or installing ducted airconditioning to replace split systems.

Generally, you can claim an immediate deduction on repairs and maintenance whereas, with improvements, you can claim either a capital works deduction or depreciation, depending on the type of improvement.

I recommend you have your property professionally managed and at the end of financial year, you will receive a financial statement that encapsulates all the financial transactions in one document.

Have your property manager pay all the outgoings, including statutory payments, body corporate and any repairs and maintenance. If you must top up their funds as expenses exceed income, this is generally easier to keep track of than random receipts.

A list of items that you can claim as immediate deductions includes:

  • Advertising;
  • Accountancy;
  • Cost of depreciation schedule;
  • Property management;
  • Statutory charges –  land rates, land tax, water;
  • Body corporate fees;
  • Gardening, pool maintenance;
  • Insurance;
  • Pest control (don’t forget to do this, particularly termite control);
  • Interest on loan (not principle payments);
  • Repairs and maintenance; and
  • Travel to inspect or to maintain.

What you can’t claim:

  • Travel expenses to visit your property;
  • When you use the investment property for personal use, a holiday home or have friends or family using the home free; and
  • Generally, the conveyancing costs of purchase are not tax deductible, rather they make up the cost base for capital gains purposes.

Getting a qualified quantity surveyor to prepare your depreciation schedule is the way to ensure this is done correctly. 

The ATO website Residential Rental Properties contains all you will need to know and is a great reference.

While you can always do your own tax return with the use of such tools from the ATO, I recommend you invest in a property accountant, which is a tax-deductible service itself, to ensure mistakes are not made and all possible deductions are accounted for.

As I have said several times, be proactive as an investor. I often see with investors a complacency and a lack of interaction with their property manager.

An active relationship with a property manager is essential to maximise your outcome by ensuring you are aware, and can capitalise on any available opportunity to maintain and improve your asset capital value and ongoing appeal to tenants. The same is true for your accountant.

Strategy planning is an investment to gain the best long-term outcome and navigate unforeseen changes and events personally and in the market place.

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About the Blogger

Julie Cumming

Julie Cumming

Based in Melbourne, Julie has been actively working in the property arena for over 12 years in diverse roles ranging from Shopping Center Manager and Commercial Property Manager to a qualified Investment Property Buyers’ Agent with a focus and expertise in the Brisbane market. Her experience in such mixed roles has given her a unique and broad property experience where she has identified opportunities within niche areas in the residential and commercial markets and developed services to meet those needs. Julie is a qualified property investment adviser (QPIA) accredited by PIPA, a licensed Real Estate agent in ACT, Victoria and Queensland. 

 

FROM THE WEB

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Many investors who would have been successfully approved for finance last year are struggling now to either begin or continue their property investment journey because of the current financial climate.

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, broker John Manciamelli and Momentum Media director Alex Whitlock joins host Tim Neary to discuss how APRA changes and the royal commission have resulted in a tighter lending economy and what that means for Australian investors.

They discuss what traps investors should avoid if they are trying to obtain finance, the four key growth drivers in a property market and unpacking trust structures while revealing one type of trust that you should miss.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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More than just bricks and mortar, experts often regard property investment as a ‘game of finance’. As such, a good finance strategy can lead any investor to success.

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When buying property, it’s important to focus on what’s important. Investor Katarina Taurian shares just what exactly is important to her: having the mindset of looking past superficial cosmetic matters and homing in on the structural suitability and potential of a property.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Katarina joins host Tim Neary to unpack her entry into the property market and experiences of rentvesting, and how the Smart Property Investment Show was vital  in a number of decisions which she made along the way.

Katarina discusses about the team that she had help her along the way, why she thinks that you should never skimp on a good solicitor and accountant, and the red flags which tell her why buying a new property doesn’t necessarily mean buying a better property.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

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More than just bricks and mortar, experts often regard property investment as a ‘game of finance’. As such, a good finance strategy can lead any investor to success.

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Why buying new property doesn’t mean buying better property
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  ["title"]=>
  string(55) "Busting perceptions of a doom and gloom property market"
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Media hype would have you believe that the Australian property market is in dire circumstances at the moment and that there is no money to be made.  But is that really the case?

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, regular guests Steve and Victor of Right Property Group join host Phil Tarrant to discuss the current state of the Australian property market as it is portrayed in the media, and analyse if things are as dire as we are being led to believe.

They will compare regional markets with capital cities as investment options, reveal some areas which they consider to be poor investments at the moment while also discussing some of the markets where they see future potential.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

The investment strategies that actually work
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A spiralling market, or just media spin?

AREAS MENTIONED: 

Hobart
Sydney
Perth
Brisbane
Shepparton
Cambridge Park
Geelong
Wollongong
Melbourne
Newcastle
Orange
Dubbo
Bathurst
Armidale
Bendigo
Cairns
Ipswich
Emerald
Port Hedland
Surfers Paradise

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More than just bricks and mortar, experts often regard property investment as a ‘game of finance’. As such, a good finance strategy can lead any investor to success.

" ["menu_text"]=> int(1) ["menu_show"]=> int(1) ["page_title"]=> string(53) "Finance Tips and Insights - Smart Property Investment" ["menu-meta_description"]=> string(91) "Financial tips for property investors, from mortgages to cash flow to saving for a deposit." ["secure"]=> int(0) ["page_description"]=> string(11) "sample desc" ["page_rights"]=> NULL ["robots"]=> NULL ["access-view"]=> bool(true) } ["initialized":protected]=> bool(true) ["separator"]=> string(1) "." } ["displayDate"]=> string(19) "2018-09-10 06:23:01" ["slug"]=> string(61) "18524:busting-perceptions-of-a-doom-and-gloom-property-market" ["catslug"]=> string(28) "45:smart-property-investment" ["link"]=> string(81) "/investor-stories-1/18524-busting-perceptions-of-a-doom-and-gloom-property-market" }
Busting perceptions of a doom and gloom property market

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